Conchies: Conscientious Objectors of the First World War
by Ann Kramer (Franklin Watts, 96 pages, £8.99)
Ann Kramer has followed her Conscientious Objectors of the Second World War with a volume on the 16,000 conscientious objectors of the First World War.
Broadly sympathetic, the book includes sections on the background to the war, the Military Service Act of 1916 and its recognition of conscientious objection, the different types of conscientious objector and the organisations to which many of them belonged, the operation of the tribunals and the alternative service available, such as the Friends Ambulance Unit or other ‘work of national importance’. The experience of the absolutists – of whom more than 1,000 ended up in prison – is also explored here.
Thee value of the book lilies ini iits methodical arrangement, the clear and simple writing style and the way in which individual stories bring it all to life. The book would benefit from detailed referencing of sources and more information on relevant libraries, archives and websites, but it is a very valuable contribution to the growing literature on this subject.
David Blake is Head of Library & Archives for the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)